It’s hot, but for how long?

Have you been searching for the shady spot in the parking lot, keeping a water bottle handy, gardening or exercising early and then heading inside for most of the day? That must mean the triple digits are here. Socorroans are asking how hot it will be and when it will stop.

On June 22, Socorro hit 100 degrees, with a near-miss on June 21 at 99.5 degrees. Data was taken from both Garfield St. Station (KNMSOCOR23) and the Socorro Municipal Airport (KONM).

Meteorologists for the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) have observed that above-average temperatures already this year are likely due to El Niño conditions emerging in May. Predictions are that El Niño may last until the end of winter 2024.

What this means for Socorro is that there is a 50% chance of temperatures being above normal for most of New Mexico, according to the NOAA’s website,

El Niño is a weakening of the trade wind speeds along the equatorial Pacific, resulting in a thicker layer of warm surface water. The usual pattern of colder, deeper water rising up to the surface is interrupted, and convection from the warm water brings more turbulence.

In other words, during El Niño, there’s more heat and movement to stir things up, such as monsoons in the western Pacific, and warmer temperatures and increased rainfall in the Americas.

In 1997-98, a strong El Niño caused flooding in California and record-breaking warm temperatures during the Midwest winter, a time when cold weather is expected, even necessary for normal agriculture. At that time, in the fisheries off the western coasts of Central and South America, the lack of nutrient-rich colder water resulted in devastating losses in the catch.

Based on the last few years of data (see table), temperatures for the Middle Rio Grande area this summer might rival or exceed those of other years, but typically the triple-digits end in August, with occasional spans of consecutive 100s, broken by daytime high temperatures in the 90s..



Year First 100-degree day High on first day Last 100-degree day High on last day Total 100+ days
2023 June 22 100.0 5 (as of June 26)
2022 June 10 102.4 August 3 100.2 15
2021 June 10 103.3 July 10 102.2 11
2020 June 4 100.0 August 23 100.8 18
2019 June 28 100.2 August 26 103.5 8
2018 June 8 100.0 July 23 104.0 5

Data from Socorro weather stations on

Jay Ann Cox, El Defensor Chieftain Editor